U.S. Looking to Allay Russian Fears

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. administration, seeking to allay Russian fears on a planned missile-defense system, urged Moscow on Monday to hold talks in the coming weeks to resolve differences on the issue.

U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the acting undersecretary of state for arms control, John Rood, planned to meet the Russians to address concerns over missile defense, although a date had not been set yet.

"We want to be clear and say that we remain interested in talking to Russia about missile defense and that they have nothing to fear from our missile-defense system that we would like to set up in Europe," Wood said.

"We encourage the Russians very strongly to engage with us on missile defense," he said.

Over the weekend, after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Egypt, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow hoped for constructive talks with President-elect Barack Obama's administration on the missile-defense system.